945th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings


Okay, so it’s hard to know if a battle should be celebrated, exactly.  Commemorated, perhaps?  But it’s been 945 years since a Norman duke landed in Hastings, England and succeeded, through a variety of means both brutal and practical, in making himself king.  Good ole 1066.

Until I started writing and researching my current series, I don’t think I had really considered the place of this particular battle in world history.  It’s not just about regime change in England–it also gave us parkland (for the king’s hunting–but it’s still there, not turned into firewood and ship timbers) and the Domesday book as the new monarch tried to figure out exactly what he’d got and who owned what (so they could be properly taxed and give their feudal due).

It also brought us, a couple of centuries later, the Hundred Years’ War.  Huh?  Well, because William was Duke of Normandy (and thus a vassal of the king of France), the Battle of Hastings resulted in the peculiar situation of one king owing feudal duties to another.  The situation gets compounded over a series of marriages which transfer additional lands in France to the English monarchy, and the occasional French king who rather wanted to tweak the English king (by then the king of a larger Britain) by calling him into court like any other vassal.

So once Edward III thought he could claim the French throne himself and get the whole thing settled, he went for it.  As they say, chaos ensues. . .

About E. C. Ambrose

I spend as much time in my office as I possibly can--thinking up terrible things to do to people who don't exist.
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